Newsweek retracts story praising assault on white nationalist Richard Spencer


Newsweek apologized Tuesday for publishing a story that praised an assault on white nationalist Richard Spencer, who was punched on video on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration.

Newsweek published a since-deleted story titled, "The Infinite Joy of Watching a Nazi Get Punched to Music," by culture editor Joe Veix.

"On a day when many Americans were despairing over what they see as the transition of power to a fascist demagogue, it was a small moment of reprieve. It was possibly the first entertaining day on the internet since the election," Veix wrote.

Spencer, one of the loudest voices in the so-called "alt-right" movement and the head of the white nationalist think-tank the National Policy Institute, was punched in the face during a live interview, and proceeded to use the incident to argue that his critics are violent cowards.

The punch was quickly remixed into a series of memes, many of them set to music.

Spencer said in a video he posted on Twitter that as he gave the interview, several people began circling him, including an African-American man who did a "Sieg Heil" salute to mock him. Others asked if he was a Neo-Nazi, which he denied. When a woman asked him if he liked black people, Spencer replied, "Yeah, sure."

Then a man whose face was disguised suddenly popped into the shot to slug Spencer. "He came out of nowhere and and punched me and he didn't really land one... it's not a big deal... it didn't really land and it didn't hurt that much," Spencer said. "This is who these people are. These are these total cowards that we're dealing with."

One reason people may have thought Richard Spencer is a Neo-Nazi is that at an alt-right gathering soon after Trump's election, Spencer led a crowd in calling out, "Hail Trump! Hail our people!" He added, "Hail victory!," the English translation of "Sieg Heil!"

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Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer through the years
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Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer through the years
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute speaks on campus at an event not sanctioned by the school, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge
Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute arrives on campus to speak at an event not sanctioned by the school, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge
Undocumented Texas A&M students and their supporters protest silently as white nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute speaks on campus at an event not sanctioned by the school, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge
Organizer Preston Wigginton shakes hands with white nationalist leader Richard Spencer after introducing him at an event on campus not sanctioned by the school, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge
Jacob Jackson, a freshman international studies major, listens after asking a question to white nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute at an event not sanctioned by the school, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute speaks on campus as a silent protester holds a placard at an event not sanctioned by the school, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute speaks on campus during an event not sanctioned by the school, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute waves goodbye after his speech during an event not sanctioned by the school, on campus at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Richard Spencer is in town for the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016. Spencer, a 38-year-old Dallas native and graduate of St. Mark's School of Texas prep school, is a key intellectual leader of the alternative right, a label he coined in 2008 to describe the radical conservative movement defined by white nationalism and a fervent resistance to multiculturalism and globalism. Spencer currently resides in the resort town of Whitefish, Montana, in what was described as a 'Bavarian-style mansion' in a profile in Mother Jones. He was born in Massachusetts but moved to the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas when he was about 2 years old. 'It was a fairly idyllic, suburban childhood,' Spencer said with a laugh. 'I remember riding bikes around the neighborhood, and so on. I guess you could say I lived in a bubble to a certain extent, like a lot of the kids in that area. But it was very nice.' (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Richard Spencer is in town for the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016. Spencer, a 38-year-old Dallas native and graduate of St. Mark's School of Texas prep school, is a key intellectual leader of the alternative right, a label he coined in 2008 to describe the radical conservative movement defined by white nationalism and a fervent resistance to multiculturalism and globalism. Spencer currently resides in the resort town of Whitefish, Montana, in what was described as a 'Bavarian-style mansion' in a profile in Mother Jones. He was born in Massachusetts but moved to the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas when he was about 2 years old. 'It was a fairly idyllic, suburban childhood,' Spencer said with a laugh. 'I remember riding bikes around the neighborhood, and so on. I guess you could say I lived in a bubble to a certain extent, like a lot of the kids in that area. But it was very nice.' (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: (L-R) Discussion panelists Peter Brimelow, Jared Taylor, Kevin MacDonald, 'Millenial Woes' (thats the name he goes by) and Richard Spencer field questions at an Alt Right ( alternative right) conference hosted by the National Policy Institute in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016. The think tank promotes white nationalism and critics accuse them of being racist and anti-semitic. The chairman of the National Policy Institute, Richard Spencer, has been permanently banned from entering the UK, and was deemed a 'national security threat' after his arrest in Hungary in 2014. He was recently banned from Twitter in a prominent purge by the company this week. (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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